Tito lashes ‘ANC looters’

2012-11-25 10:00
Carien du Plessis and Sabelo Ndlangisa
Former Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni has called on “activist intellectuals” to return to the ANC. Mboweni has been quiet since leaving the central bank nearly four years ago.

But on Friday night, he stepped on to the political stage when he delivered a lecture on former president Thabo Mbeki at the University of Johannesburg to a small group of ANC members from Sophiatown, as part of the party’s centenary series.

Mboweni told the audience: “The rats and mice have been feeding on the (ANC’s) glorious history and achievements.”

To applause, he said some people went into politics just to “loot”.

Mboweni, who was a close supporter of Mbeki, also touched on how some in the ANC had felt Mbeki lacked popular backing when he became president. “Politics is cruel,” he said.

At the lecture, at least two speakers said he should make himself available to serve on the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) after the
party’s Mangaung congress.

City Press understands there is a push from some lobbyists in Gauteng to get people with skills and experience into the NEC to boost the party’s ability to lead the country.

But Mboweni refused to comment on the suggestions.

He did, however, offer some tips to the party during an interview with City Press after his speech.

“The key issue at the moment is not who gets elected or what,” he said.

“It is that the country has been downgraded (by credit ratings agencies) and we need all hands on deck to get our investment grading back.”

He said he was using his experience to offer help and advice to ministers and business on the matter.

“I have worked with people in the markets for over 20 years. I know the markets, and that information must pass on from me, (Planning Minister) Trevor Manuel and other people.

“And so many people feel comfortable when they see me, when they see Trevor Manuel. They know these people, they know their track records, they know the markets and the markets understand that,” he said, adding that “there has been a cacophony of voices” on economic policy, with the departments of economic development, finance and the National Planning Commission all talking about the issue.

According to him, this was partly to blame for the circumstances that led to the investment downgrade.

He said: “It is not helpful to have too many state departments (doing) the same thing.

“I won’t be surprised if they come up with a ministry of infrastructural development too. It is (of) no use if we have a large state that we cannot run.”

Mboweni was back on stage yesterday, delivering another Mbeki lecture, this time to ANC branches in Lonehill, north of Joburg.

He used the platform to suggest that the ANC needs to learn from the private sector and groom a pool of leaders to deal with the problems it faces.

Mboweni said that during his time at the Reserve Bank, he identified four people as his immediate successors and 26 others as future leaders.

Mboweni, who is a farmer and chairs the boards of AngloGold Ashanti and Nampak, said one of the bad things about the governing party was that it tended to sideline “our best”.

He said: “I think we need to grow up.”